QCOSTARICA – President-elect, Rodrigo Chaves, formally announced on Friday, during a televised press conference, the first members of his cabinet, who will take office on May 8.
Of the more than 8,000 resumes received by the incoming government, Chaves revealed the names and posts of ten members of his cabinet, in addition to naming Natalia Díaz as designated Ministra de la Presidencia (Chief of Staff) last week.
These are Arnoldo André as Foreign Minister (Chancellor), Jorge Torres as Minister of Security, Anna Müller as Minister of Education, Joselyn Chacón as Minister of Health, Manuel Tovar as Minister of Foreign Trade and Laura Fernández as Minister of Planning.
Marta Esquivel will be the new Minister of Labor come May 8, while Franz Tattenbach will be the Minister of Environment, Álvaro Ramos Executive President of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) and Hans Sequeira will head the Dirección de Inteligencia y Seguridad (DIS) – Costa Rica’s intelligence service.
President-elect Chaves said that the low salaries of ministers, ¢1.3 million colones (US$1,943 dollars at today’s exchange rate) monthly, a figure much lower than a person in a similar position of duties and responsibilities in the private sector, affected the cabinet selection process.
Chaves was emphatic that, while conducting personal interviews of potential ministers and executive heads of autonomous government institutions, a matter that he had stated clearly during his campaign and following his election win, would not be relegated fully to subordinates, many declined the offer a ministerial post due to the low salary.
The salary issue, said the president-elect, was an obstacle to attracting people he would have liked to have in his government.
According to him, he said, some people considered it illogical that a minister earns less than a middle manager whom he has to supervise.
Regarding the deputy ministries, Chaves said that the appointed Ministers must recruit people for those positions and present them to the presidential team.
Pending is the naming of 13 ministers, among then Ministers of Finance (Chaves’ last job in the current government), Economy, Communication, Justice, Housing and Sports.
In total, the Chaves administration must appoint nearly 1,000 people, including ministers, executive presidents, ambassadors, directors, senior officials, and advisers.
The designated Minister of the Presidency, Natalia Díaz, confirmed that she received 8,000 emails of resumes from people interested in being part of the government.